Potential in Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, hydropower is a major energy source, holding great promise for a country which possesses several rivers that could be exploited for electricity.

According to the German Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, there is potential for 2.000MW of hydro power. Faktsheet Republik Sierra Leone. According to the German Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, there is potential for 2.000MW of hydro power. Faktsheet Republik Sierra Leone More optimistic studies are the Power Sector Master Plan (1996), identifiying 27 potential hydropower sites with a total capacity of 1,513 MW. And a study conducted by UNIDO (Hydropower Potentials in Sierra Leone, UNIDO, 2013) that estimates hydropower potentials to about 5,000 MW covering 300 sites nationwide.

However, most of the others suffer from water flow rate variations between the wet and dry seasons. Yiben II, Bekongor III, Kambatibo, Betmai III, Yiben I and Bumbuna Falls are the most attractive in terms of generation cost. Furthermore, most of these hydropower sources remain virtually untapped. Although many of the rivers investigated fall under the small to medium hydro system (i.e. 1 - 100 MW) there is a potential for pico to mini-hydro systems (5 kW to 1MW).

Resources under 2 MW are expected to offer huge potential for public-private partnerships and wider investment by the private sector. In Sierra Leone, hydropower generation has accounted for a substantial part of the total electricity generation mix. Currently, hydroelectricity represents 59% of the installed grid-connected electricity generation capacity. Source: Renewable Energy Policy of Sierra Leone.

Projects

According to the “Renewable Energy Statistics 2017” report by IRENA, Sierra Leone has 56 MW installed hydro power capacity.

Bumbuna:
The biggest hydro power plant is situated in Bumbuna, Tonkolili District, commissioned in 2009, 161kv transmission line and 250km line length between Bumbuna and Freetown, covering aprox. 40%  of the capitals' residents. In wet season the Bumbuna hydro power plant generates aprox. 30-40MW and in the dry season 10-18MW, leading to frequent power blackouts in the months from February to April. Nevertheless, the importance of the hydro power plant is reflected on the 5.000 Leones note, depicting the Bumbuna reservoir. The city of Makeni is also provided with electricity from Bumbuna plant.

In the end of 2017, the parliament of Sierra Leone approved the so called "Bumunba II", an extension of Bumbuna I, adding a further 143MW of power capacity.

Dodo:
A 6 MW run-of-the river hydro power plant, located in the Eastern Province, some 380 km from Freetown and 69 km from the headquarter town of Kenema. This plant, operated by the BKPS, is functional, and is a part of a regional grid connecting thermal power plants in Bo and Kenema.

Guma:
The 2.4MW Guma plant, installed in 1967 in the Western Area, was decommissioned in 1982.

Bankasoka, Charlotte, Makali:
In December 2017, the president commissioned the Bankasoka Hydro Dam in Port Loko town which will produce about 5 MW of electricity supply including Makali and Charlotte dams respectively. The Bankasoka (2MW), Charlotte (2MW) and Makali (120KW) were jointly constructed and wired by the Government and the Chinese Government, in partnership with UNIDO.

Hydro Power Technologies

There are many different types of technologies that use hydro power. They differ in size and technical components. You can find comprehensive information on hydro power technologies on energypedia.